Wattisham/Woodbridge: Service personnel join the Olympic team

THEY are accustomed to the high-pressure environment of the front line, fighting in war torn Afghanistan.

But for a group of Suffolk’s military personnel, the excited crowds flocking to the Olympic Park have been part of their latest assignment as they bolstered security at the London Games.

Around 18,200 members of the armed forces were drafted in after security company G4S struggled to find enough members of staff to cover the event.

Among those who have been on duty is Sapper Alex Dolan, of Woodbridge-based 23 Engineer Regiment (Air Assault).

Spr Dolan, 22, said: “Working at the Olympics has been a good experience and very different to day-to-day soldiering.

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“The atmosphere at the park was really good and the fans are really happy to see us working here to ensure the event is safe and secure.”

A small number of tickets are made available for soldiers every day and Spr Dolan has watched athletics in the Olympic Stadium.

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He said: “It’s great to have seen both sides of the Olympics, as a worker and a fan. I watched Usain Bolt in the 200m heats and he is just unbelievably quick.”

Spr Dolan has been in the Army for three years and has served in Afghanistan – a far cry from his Olympic duties.

Up to 2,800 troops have been on security duty at any one time, carrying out tasks such as patrolling and vehicle screening.

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